ATLANTA (FOX 5 Atlanta) - Managers of the Sheraton Atlanta said the hotel will be closed a little longer than first expected as they wait for test results to come back. The hotel has been closed since July 14, when the first cases of Legionnaires’ disease were confirmed.
Hotel managers said it will not reopen until Aug. 15.
Ken Peduzzi, General Manager of the Sheraton Atlanta sent the following statement to FOX 5 News on Friday:
"On behalf of everyone at Sheraton Atlanta, I offer our deepest sympathies to all of those affected by the Legionella outbreak. Please know that our thoughts are with you and your families. During our closure, we have been working closely with the Georgia Department of Public Health, Fulton County Board of Health and environmental experts to conduct testing to ensure there is no threat of Legionella infection. A thorough cleaning of the hotel’s entire water distribution system has been completed as a precautionary measure, including cleaning, scrubbing and chlorination of all water features. At this time, we are awaiting additional testing results and we will complete a review of those results, as will the Georgia Department of Public Health. After final results are known, we will provide another update on both the results and opening date. At this time, the Sheraton Atlanta will remain closed until at least August 14th.
“Guests with reservations prior to August 15th will be contacted by hotel representatives today, who will assist them with rebooking at a nearby hotel. For reservations booked directly via a Marriott channel, one can also cancel at Marriott.com or via the Marriott Bonvoy mobile app and Marriott agents will assist with rebooking."
Previously, the hotel said it would reopen on Aug. 11.
As of Friday, there have been 12 lab-confirmed cases and 63 probable cases at the Sheraton Atlanta hotel, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.
Tuesday, health officials confirmed the first fatality related to the outbreak. Loved ones say 49-year-old Cameo Garrett stayed at the Sheraton Atlanta hotel and contracted the disease. Garret's father told the police officers who found her body that she had a history of high blood pressure.
Officials are asking anyone who stayed at the Sheraton in downtown Atlanta during late June and early July to take a short survey about possible symptoms.
Legionnaires' can cause flu-like symptoms, but unlike influenza, it can be treated with antibiotics. The most common way to contract the disease is using a pool, hot tub, air conditioner, mist sprayer, or even the water supply itself.
The Sheraton is one of the five host hotels for Dragon Con, the largest multimedia pop-culture convention in the United States, which draws about 80,000 visitors annually to Atlanta’s hotel district. The hotel serves as the registration point for members as well fills up its rooms with guests attending the convention. Both hotel management and Dragon Con officials are hopeful the hotel will be back in time for the big event.